When you start a keto diet, one of the first walls you hit is finding acceptable bread options. When the term “substitute” is used, you usually find out that it is not so much a substitute as much as just a poor imitation.
And if you’re only looking at Keto as a short-term diet, then you can probably find a way to limp through substitutes until you hit your weight goal. But if you’re looking at Keto as a lifestyle, then you’ve probably discovered after months at it that keto bread-related foods and recipes just fail to satisfy.
But the problem doesn’t just exist for meat-and-potato type meals, but also in other cuisines too. And maybe the issue is no more obvious than when you’re craving Mexican food.
One of the primary bread in Mexican cooking comes in the form of the tortilla.
Yes, the simple tortilla. But keto dieters know they’re not so simple…
Tortillas are the basis of so many common Mexican dishes -- think tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chips and salsa, and the list goes on and on. Flour tortillas are typically used for burritos and chimichangas. Corn tortillas, on the other hand, are the go-to for enchiladas, tacos, and nachos.
How does something seemingly so simple as Low Carb Keto Tortillas turn into such a trail of heartache for keto dieters? If you’ve ever looked online or on YouTube, you know there are a lot of crazy ways people are trying to fill the void. Most of the time it doesn’t end well, haha!
Your first impulse might be to try to use a keto bread recipe. A tortilla is like a big flat piece of bread, right? But you’ve probably discovered keto bread recipes won’t work as a substitute, especially when looking for a corn tortilla substitute. First keto bread recipes are impossible to roll thin enough to handle, they fall apart, and finally (and most importantly) they don't taste like a tortilla.
So what’s on the grocer’s shelf? Well, there are store-bought low-carb flour tortilla options out there. There are some good ones that are as low as 4g net carbs — not bad!
These actually aren’t bad for burritos or chimichangas but they simply don’t work when you want a crunchy taco or a plate of enchiladas. (Enchiladas with flour tortillas? Not in this house!) Crunchy tacos and enchiladas need a tortilla that is like a corn tortilla, not like a flour tortilla.
But if you look on a grocer’s shelf for keto corn tortillas, you’ll be disappointed; there’s nothing out there. If you decide to use “regular” corn tortillas, you’re going to be eating roughly 12g net carbs per tortilla. That means three little corn tortillas are going to blow up your daily carb budget at 36 grams net carbs! Ouch!
So Lupita and I tested many keto tortilla recipes that are out there. Some included using cheese. Some didn't. Some used different combinations of almond flour and/or coconut flour, psyllium or xanthan, and so on.
Most were edible, but we always felt like we were eating a substitute for a tortilla rather than a real tortilla. We really couldn’t call them tortillas. It is kind of like when you try subbing cauliflower for rice - sure, it looks like the original, but as soon as you taste it you know it’s the dreaded “substitute”.
So Lupita took a step back and just started with the basics of the basic corn tortilla, making appropriate changes from corn flour to the perfect combination of keto-friendly flours. She added the simple ingredients she saw her mom use while making tortillas for her family in her home state of Sonora, Mexico.
And voila! She turned all of that knowledge and “keep it simple” attitude into a tortilla that truly tastes like a corn tortilla! Sonora™ Tortilla mix was born!! And 1g net carbs on top of that - that’s called a home run! You could eat 12 of these tortillas and it would match the carb count of one corn tortilla.
Now we can make enchiladas that taste like enchiladas and not like an option from your local T*** Bell. We can make nachos with chips that are crispy. We can make tacos that taste like tacos, not cheese wraps!
A secret to this recipe is the use of lard (or manteca, in Spanish) and maseca, which is a corn flour. The lard gives it a true home-cooked flavor and it is typical in traditional home-made corn tortillas. If you’ve ever had a great bowl of pinto beans, you know what a difference a little bit of lard does for the flavor. That’s what Lupita’s mom used too!
Some people are going to say “Lard? Are you nuts?” And that’s ok. We’re not saying make a meal of lard; it’s just meant to be a flavoring to make it taste authentic.
We like to call it “Practical Keto”. What good is it to have low-carb recipes you’re going to be sick of in three months and decide to quit?
You may decide you prefer to use a different fat and that’s ok too; just substitute with olive oil. It won’t have quite as much flavor, but it will make the masa smooth to spread on the corn husks.
The dash of maseca gives it just enough corn flavor to make it taste truly authentic! Again, some of the same above-mentioned keto die-hards will say “Corn flour? No way!” But the fact is the maseca is in a very small amount and is really only there to add flavor. The carbs added are insignificant and after you taste these tortillas, you’ll understand why it’s there.
And so this is where we’re going to add a side note. We really believe for keto to work, it can’t be a short-term habit that you do for a few months and stop. It really needs to be a lifestyle.
However, it doesn’t seem very likely someone can sustain it as a lifestyle if it doesn’t taste good. So our view is we would rather offer food that might have 1 or 2 grams more net carbs per serving and taste great than offer a zero carb food that you won’t want to eat. So, we’ll include a bit of lard and a bit of maseca, and offer something that is still low-carb but tastes great (even better than the original carb-heavy version).
So try out our Sonora™ Keto Tortilla mix! You’re making them, so you know they’re going to be fresh! You’re going to find them to be a great keto-friendly tortilla that is worthy of your next taco night, plate of enchiladas or pile of nachos! (My personal favorite is hot off the skillet, buttered, then sprinkled with cinnamon and granulated stevia!)